MOOZWEEK: A weekly compilation of news about Muslims in the U.S. and abroad.
How do you demonize someone you hate? Spread lies about them being cruel to puppies. Anti-Islamic bloggers Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer recently ran stories about how the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt had been using “puppy bombs” dipped in gasoline. Sheila Musaji at The American Muslim blog investigated, and found that the story was bogus. The story started at a CBS affiliate in New York, which used but failed to fact-check a Facebook comment about puppy bombs. CBS later changed the story, but without noting a correction had been made. By that time, as Musaji noted, the Islamophobes were off an running with the news.
“THERE’S NO PLACE ON EARTH FOR SUCH PRIMITIVE, BRAINLESS SAVAGES,” wrote one commentator, yes in all caps, at Geller’s blog. “(T)HERE’S NO OTHER WAY BUT TO ANNIHILATE THEM ALL COMPLETELY, WITHOUT LEAVING ANY SEEDS AT ALL!”
Former EDL chief Robinson falls out with Geller and Spencer?
Of course, who has time to fact check when your friends are falling for that rubbish about moderate Muslims. The HuffingtonPost UK reported this week that Tommy Robinson, former head of the English Defense League, a street protest group that many observers say is racist, abdicated to start a more moderate group that wants to work with Muslims to fight extremism. Robinson even has the backing of the Quilliam Foundation, a counter-extremism think-tank.
This is not the first time that a hardcore Islamophobe has changed views. Consider the amazing example of Charles Johnson who once ran one of the most Islamophobic websites around, but changed his views, as reported in this fascinating 2010 New York Times Magazine piece, Right-Wing Flame War!
Super Muslim chic
Meet Kamala Khan, the newest superhero in the Marvel Comics universe. And she happens to be a Pakistani-American Muslim. Is she tough? She’s from Jersey City. The shape-changing Khan is the creation of two Marvel editors, Sana Amanat, who grew-up Muslim, and Steve Wacker. The series is written by G. Willow Wilson, an author and American convert to Islam. Other Muslim superheroes include Simon Baz, a Muslim Green Lantern, and the cast of The 99, created by a Kuwaiti-American Muslim.
Salon: TV show “Homeland” has a Muslim problem
If you like your Muslims the old fashioned way, as the bad guys, then watch the Showtime drama “Homeland.” There, reports Daniel D’addario of Salon, every Muslim is a credible threat and the story evokes Bush-era paranoia.
Muslims run, win
Among the many interesting election stories that emerged Tuesday were the victories of two African-born Muslims in important local contests. In Minneapolis, home to the nation’s first Muslim congressman and a large Somali population, voters elected Somali-American Muslim Abdi Warsame to the city council, while in Portland, Me., Pious Ali, born in Ghana, won a school board seat. It was the first time either community had elected an African-born local politician.
The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding will sponsor the 6th Annual Weekend of Twinning between Muslims and Jews, November 15-17., although some events have already begun. The Twinning weekend involves mosques and synagogues working together on specific projects. For example, in Detroit, Muslims and Jews will feed the homeless, while in Boston the historic Vilna Shul synagogue will host an interfaith meeting with Muslims.
Simmons vows to continue to support Muslim music acts
Speaking of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, it’s chairman, rap entrepreneur Russell Simmons, was recently interviewed by the Los Angeles Times’ Lorraine Ali, and said Islamophobia would not stop him from supporting Muslim artists. “Islamophobia is one of the heavier burdens we have in this country,” said Simmons who, who on Saturday night (Nov. 9) will be awarded with a “Voice of Courage and Conscience Award” from the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles.
St. Louis Bosnians break ground on new Islamic center
An estimated 77,000 Bosnian Muslims live in St. Louis, most of them refugees from the genocide of the 1992-1995 Bosnian War, and on Saturday they will break ground on a large new Islamic center that will serve not just as a prayer space, but a senior citizens’ meeting center, wedding hall, and social services center.
U.S. Holocaust Museum commemorates Burma’s Rohingya
Lest we forget the plight of the Rohingya Muslims, an ethnic and religious minority suffering persecution in Burma, the U.S. Holocaust Museum held a photo installation commemorating the Rohingya. While the photo installation finishes today, (Nov. 8), the photos, taken by award winning photographer Greg Constantine can be seen here.
The Pew Research Center’s Religion and Public Life Project released a new survey, based on polls from 2011 and 2012 of Muslims in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan,Iran, Iraq and Lebaonon, which shows Muslims in both sects worry about sectarian conflict and religious extremism.